In case you hadn’t realise, last week was Independent Book Shop Week. Now as you know, I need no excuse to visit an independent bookshop but if I did this was it. I also happened to be on holiday last week and always take such opportunities to visit local book shops in places I don’t know.
Serendip is in the lovely town of Lyme Regis, nestled between lots of other local and independent shops. With Lyme Regis’s literary heritage, Jane Austen and John Fowles being perhaps the best known and celebrated, this would seem like the perfect place for an independent book shop. This is a sea-side town where locals still live, unlike similar towns in other parts of the country which are now inhabited mainly by second homers and tourists. The fact that Serendip has been in Lyme for over 40 years would suggest it is very much part of that local community.
It was a sunny afternoon when I visited but there was a fair amount of through traffic browsing and buying whilst I was in the shop and whilst I was sitting on the wall outside looking in! The shop is airy, bright and seasidy – see above picture of deck chair and parasol for evidence!
The book shop is packed full of books on most subjects, including food, travel, history and a large selection of children’s books. As you might expect there are lots of books on local history, fossils and dinosaurs and plenty of local guides and maps. There is also a good selection of contemporary and classic fiction which is where I always find myself. I flicked through a number of books stacked on a shelf just inside the door . A good selection that would be suitable for all tastes but I immediately homed in on The Pleasure of Reading by Antonia Fraser. Along with some lovely ‘retro’ postcards this made it into my bag of purchases for some summer reading.
Serendip also stocks a large selection of toys, and games. I’m not always keen on these additions to book shops but I appreciate the need to diversify and if stocking toys gets children and parents in to book shops who otherwise might not visit then I’m not going to complain. I always like to try to chat to book sellers when I’m in new book shops to find out a bit more about the shop. On this occasion I had a rather stilted conversation with the lady serving me but I put this down to my poor conversational technique and a couple of other more demanding customers rather than lack of friendliness.
I was trying to take photos in a rather undercover way so the quality is unsurprisingly poor. To see how lovely this shop really is visit the Serendip Website.
Should you find your self in Lyme Regis over the summer or any other time for that matter, do stop by and pick up a book before taking up residence on the beach. I feel sure you won’t be disappointed.